Wednesday, June 27, 2012

injaynesworld "Nora Ephron Led The Way..."

There are many who stand by the side of the road and watch life travel by.  Nora Ephron marched right down the middle line.  She followed no one, instead charting her own unique path, and encouraging others to do the same by her example.  

Her remarkable career is being written about in articles all over the web and print world today.  I will leave that chronicling to others.  For me, Nora’s place in literary history is much more personal.  She was my rock star.  She set the writing bar impossibly high with her ability to pierce any ordinary moment with an infusion of humor so damn honest and relatable that we were all in on the joke.   Nobody knew that the personal was universal better than Nora. 

In my fantasy, I became the long lost Ephron sister.   I looked up to her, saw every movie, read every book, every interview, striving to shape my prose and humor in her imprint and, of course, falling pitifully short.  But because she set the bar so high, I made it to a higher rung in my work than I ever would have had it not been for her example.   Among the most important things Nora’s writing taught me was the meaning and importance of “authenticity of voice” – to find my own and trust that it would be enough.    

Had I lived in New York, I would have made Alec Baldwin’s stalker look like an amateur.  In a piece from 2010, “Stalking Nora Ephron,” I wrote of my attempt to meet my idol through an essay competition where the prize was a trip to New York and a face-to-face with the grand lady of humor herself.   I didn’t win.  

More than anything, I wanted the opportunity to stand before her and say thank you.  It wouldn’t have been dignified.   I’m sure I would have blubbered inanely and embarrassed both of us.   Best I say it here where I can exercise at least the illusion of decorum.

I’m standing by the side of the road where I see your footprints and I smile.  I love you, Nora Ephron.   You are and will always remain my hero.   Thank you…

This post was shaped by the prompt, “By the side of the road,” part of the 30-day writing challenge from Nicky and Mike at We Work for Cheese.  I didn’t know how I was going to express my feelings about the passing of Nora Ephron and this prompt gave me the structure I needed.  Inspiration is everywhere…

Sunday, June 24, 2012

injaynesworld it's the "Sunday Recap..."

It’s Gay Pride week…

Credit:   Reuters

Congratulations to Dick Cheney… (Wow.  That felt weird.)

… who finally got to see his daughter, Mary, wed longtime partner, Heather Poe on Friday in Washington, D.C.   The couple has two children, five and two.   In her autobiography where Mary wrote of coming out to her parents, she said her father’s reaction was, “You’re my daughter and I love you and just want you to be happy.”   On Friday, the Cheneys issued this statement:  “… we are delighted that Mary and Heather were able to take advantage of the opportunity to have their relationship recognized.”

Fortunately, it wasn’t a shotgun wedding.  


Separated at birth…

Kenneth "30 Rock"
Gov. John Lynch
New Hampshire Governor John Lynch shot down two Republican-passed bills this week.   One, pushed by the Tea Party contingent, those great believers in liberty, was yet another “Voter I.D.” bill intended to suppress voter turnout in November among groups known to vote overwhelmingly Democrat.  The next was far more clever.  The Republican-controlled legislature passed a bill that would legalize medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, something I never thought I’d see the GOP support.   I guess they figure if they can’t restrict the right to vote, maybe they can get voters stoned enough so they’ll stay home munching down Sara Lee and listening to old Grateful Dead tunes.  Nice try, guys.


Mitt and Ann Romney’s horse qualified for the Olympic dressage team… 

I can’t help but wonder if Romney’s past chairmanship of the 2002 U.S. Olympics might have had just a tiny bit of sway with the judges, but no matter.   It’s a U.S. horse and I’ll be rooting for him. 

And you can bet the often neglected sport  of dressage will be receiving a hell of a lot more media coverage this year than it has in past Olympics.   It will be interesting to see how Romney is going to spin his participation in such an expensive sport with the “regular guy” image he’s been trying to sell to the electorate.   Maybe we’ll see photo ops of Mitt shoveling shit instead of spouting it.


Happy Anniversary Title IX…

The 40-year-old gender equality law stating that no one should be barred from taking part in any education program or activity on the basis of their sex was signed into law in 1972 by Richard Nixon, who would be considered a socialist by today’s Republican standards.  Can you even imagine trying to get this law passed today?


Finally, those mother fucking bullies on that mother fucking bus… 

The big story of the week was the cruel taunting of school bus monitor Karen Klein.  Personally, I couldn’t bear to watch the video.   We all know what nasty little bastards kids that age can be.  It seems to me that putting a 68-year-old grandmother in the position of bus monitor is like throwing a kitten in a tank of piranhas.  This is the dude they should have had riding that bus.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

injaynesworld "Be Careful What You Wish For..."

The sparkling dust tickled her nose and she sneezed, tumbling across the dresser like a cotton ball caught in the wind.  Down, down, down she fell, deep into the wicker basket, landing softly on a bed of pink-lipped tissues, which she now recognized as her own. 

Their laughter brought her gaze upward where they circled, translucent wings effortlessly keeping them aloft, and beckoned her to join them.  A bare whisper of thought sent her rocketing to the ceiling, bumping her head against the hard wooden beam.  

The tiny, light-filled creatures somersaulted around the room in a fit of giggles and then, gently taking hold of her hands, they guided her out the window and into the night. 

From the prompt “Faeries” at Five Sentence Fiction.

Friday, June 15, 2012

injaynesworld it's "The Visitor..."

Catching a glimpse of her reflection in the mirrored panel, she wondered if he’d be disappointed.  She was still not sure she could go through with this.   Taking a deep breath, she willed her hand toward the button marked “12” and pushed.

The elevator began its slow climb upward.  She watched the red numbers light up, each a passing opportunity to turn back.     A bell sounded the arrival of the twelfth floor.   She steeled herself for what was ahead.   

The elevator opened onto the vacant hallway.   Bits of unseen lives whispered to her from beneath closed doors as she made her way down the worn, stained carpeting to his room.   Pulling the crumpled scrap of paper with his room number on it from her pocket, she looked at it one more time.   From inside, came the low drone of a television.  She knocked…

He looked older than she’d expected, frail, and in need of a shave.  “Yes?” he said. 

She stood there frozen for a moment, all traces of the speech she’d so carefully practiced gone.

“Do you want something?” he asked.

And then she was six years old again, watching him stand in the middle of the street looking after them, his image getting smaller and smaller as her mother drove her away to a new life where he would never be allowed.  

 Hot tears spilled down over her cheeks.  “Hi, Daddy... ”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

injaynesworld "It Came With The House..."

I so admire my many friends who derive pleasure from cooking and can whip up culinary delights with devilish ease.  Knowing my complete lack of skill or interest in this area, when having a potluck they’ve learned to just assign me the bread.   

For me, the kitchen is just another room to keep clean and if I could afford to eat every meal in a restaurant, I would.   I seem to recall my mother grousing about cooking and, while she always managed to have a meal on the table for us, the impression made was that there was nothing fun about it.   As an adult, I learned to keep myself nourished by never cooking anything that had more than one ingredient.  Chicken – one ingredient.   Potato – one ingredient.  Broccoli – one ingredient. 

With one exception… stoned rice.   The reason we gave it that name was because it was easy to make when you were stoned and, since that was my state pretty much throughout my early 20s, it proved to be a popular dish around the roommate’s and my Mill Valley, California apartment. 


Minute Rice (because of our short attention span)
Cheapest cut of steak available cut into bite-size pieces 
Celery, green onions, mushrooms (or anything else lying around)
½ cube butter, more or less
Teriyaki sauce

Melt the butter, add a bunch of teriyaki sauce, dump in the steak and veggies and cook over a medium heat until the steak was browned on all sides.   A minute would do it.   Then pour the concoction over the rice and you had a meal for one, four, or more.  

I sometimes think of making the dish today – for old time’s sake – but, without being stoned, it all just seems like way too much trouble.   

From the prompt "in the kitchen," part of the 30-day blogging challenge from those crazy kids over at We Work For Cheese.   Visit them   They're a fun bunch.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

injaynesworld it’s “The Pony Ride…”

The pressure of her strong, confident legs kept his pace steady and forward as the drumming of galloping hooves drove every other thought from her mind.   The wind stung her face as they rounded the last turn on the course and locked onto the final jump.   It was giant vertical, but they’d trained for this moment.  She could feel his heart pounding along with her own and taste the sweetness of her first Grand Prix victory just seconds away now --

“Jayne… Come on now, honey.” 

She opened her eyes.   The ring of ponies had stopped and the children were being unbelted and removed so the next eager group could hop on.   

“Once more, Mommy.   Please…”

From the prompt “Pressure,” part of the 30-day blogging challenge at We Work For Cheese.  Stop on by to read the more from the great group of writers participating.

Monday, June 4, 2012

injaynesworld we're "Behind The Wheel In A Purple Haze..."

There’s no rationale to explain why I’m still alive.   I’ve done some crazy crap that would have sent many to the far side of the great beyond.  But for some reason, like a fish so tiny you’d be embarrassed to admit you caught it, God has just kept tossing me back.

The year was 1969.  The “Age of Aquarius” topped the charts and I was living with a roommate in an apartment in San Mateo, California.   Our décor was early-hippie chic and friends often gathered there to smoke weed and consume copious amounts of Sara Lee chocolate cake.  One Sunday afternoon, my roommate and I decided it would be fun to drop acid, then hop in my ’67 Triumph Spitfire, drive out to Half Moon Bay beach and watch the sunset.  We timed our ingestion of the colorful drug to assure a safe arrival at our destination before our “trip” kicked in.  “Knights in White Satin” blared from the 8-track as we melded into the fiery light show until the sun’s final rays disappeared into the blackness of the ocean. 

And then it was dark.  Man, was it dark.   Something we had not planned on in our eagerness to stuff our cerebrum with hallucinogenics and embark on this little adventure.  Now we were on an empty beach, miles of winding mountain roads from home, and neither of us functional enough to drive.   Good times.

I could steer, sort of, and work the clutch.   I could not coordinate that with the gear shift.  My roommate could operate the gearshift, but only when I would yell, “Now!” and my timing lacked, shall we say, a certain dependability.    Adding to the gaiety of the evening was the fact that we had no idea which way was home, but not to worry.  There were other cars on the road whose drivers all seemed to know where they were going.  Surely, if we just followed one of them we’d end up… someplace. 

The tiny car lurched onto the highway – and kept right on lurching accompanied by intermitted shouts of “Now!” grind, “Now!” grind.   And since we weren’t exactly keeping up with the flow of traffic, each car we’d start to follow would almost immediately disappear and we’d have to choose another.    It was all very confusing.

I wish I could tell you what happened after that.   I really do.  But the honest-to-God truth is I don’t know.  I can only tell you that we woke up in our apartment the next day with neither of us knowing how the hell we got there, but both of us marveling at our good fortune to still be alive – and then, no doubt, we lit up a joint to celebrate.  

Recently, my old roommate and I connected again and we talked about that night.   To this day, neither of us has any memory of how we made it home, but one thing we will never forget was that amazing fucking sunset. 

For more adventures about me & my Spitfire in the hedonistic Sixties, read “Cruisin’ With the Top Down” featured in my book, “Suitable for Giving:  A Collection of Wit with a Side of Wry.”

This post is part of the 30-day writing challenge at “We Work for Cheese," and is a response to the prompt, “Behind the wheel.”   Visit WWFC to read more posts from an amazing group of writers who I am honored to be among.  

Friday, June 1, 2012

injaynesworld "But What We Really Meant to Say..."

With texting, tweeting, and “send” buttons that fire off if you sneeze on them, today’s world is ripe with opportunities for misinterpretation.   Ah for the nineties, when communication was much more straightforward, or so I thought.

I was selling vitamin supplements for one of those multi-level marketing companies and gung-ho about my prospect for riches.   To that end, I had tee-shirts, baseball caps, even a leotard with the company name on it.  Yes, I was a walking billboard for better health, but it was still not enough. Surely there was more I could do to attract the attention of potential buyers.

And then WHAM!   A freakin’ genius of an idea:  A personalized license plate that would be a guaranteed conversation started wherever I went.  Goddamn, I was pleased with myself!  I recall my excitement when it finally arrived, the fervor with which I attached it to my vehicle.  

CHOOSE HEALTH.   Get it?   Brilliant, right?   Right…?  

You’re way ahead of me, aren’t you?  

Alas, I was right about one thing.   It was definitely a conversation starter.   Rarely did a day go by without me finding some perplexed soul staring at my car and wanting to know what “Cheese Health” meant.  

Had I only been in the dairy business I could have made a fortune.  

This post is in response to the prompt “Cheese,” part of a 30-day torture writing challenge from the demented dynamic duo of Nicky and Mike at We Work forCheese.   Stop by there to check out all the other fools wonderful writers participating in this never fucking ending month-long challenge.

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